New York Times
published an article
on *gasp* fan fiction. It is still available to read online without paying, though NYT will want you to register (bugmenot.com is your friend).
It is an interesting read even now, particularly for some of the quaintness it shows: slash is barely given a mention, and one writer's self-congratulatory comments for what is obviously a huge Mary Sue go unchallenged.
I would say it was a little less than a year after this article was published that I really discovered the world of online fandom and fanfic. I actually had quite a fondness for the oddly fascinating works of Nina Smith, who is mentioned in the article. Her Chicago Hope trilogy featuring a mixture of extreme libertarian views and orthodox Judaism is a real treat. Of a sort. The first part
of it is still available at the due South
fanfic archive at squidge.org, but as it was the only part with a dS crossover, the remaining two parts of the trilogy are not archived there. I haven't been able to find them or her JAG story (involving the revival of ancient Mayan practices and also featuring an amazingly intelligent and outspoken orthodox Jewish woman) anywhere else online. A pity, really. Such history should last longer than that.